Sharing...from the Dr. Michael Conti School PS #5 PTA Advocacy Team Jersey City's school funding crisis is NOT resolved. City Council -- #FundOurSchools!! Keep the pressure on City Hall. Demand that Mayor Fulop & City Council: FUND OUR SCHOOLS!! Jersey City's school funding crisis is NOT yet resolved. There are still over...Continue reading
Tag: Jersey City Public Schools Funding Crisis
June 26th: Tell the Jersey City City Council to #FundOurSchools
Jersey City Public Schools are $100 million underfunded and the stories we’ve heard about how this underfunding is impacting students are real. Join us as we press the City Council to put $16 million towards the schools budget. This will help prevent unnecessary layoffs, stop the sale of Central Office, and help the JC BOE...Continue reading
City Council Can Allocate Surplus Funds to the Public Schools.
The education team of Jersey City Together has been researching to understand, in concrete terms, the process by which City Council can allocate funds to JCPS. I’m a member of that team so wanted to share: 1) NJ law NJSA 40:48-17-1 allows the municipality to allocate surplus funds to the public schools. Sharing that below....Continue reading
Civic Questions for the Board of Education Upon Passing of their 2019/20 Budget
I wanted to share some civic questions that can be asked on the record or included in an email to the BOE. Why did five of Board of Education trustees approve a budget that included an incorrect tax base number? I wrote about this error in detail here, but to quickly recap: the Jersey City...Continue reading
PS #5 Advocacy Campaign: Not Good Enough – Better Leadership Needed.
Tell Jersey City's elected: we need you to provide better leadership. Fund Our Schools. How you can help. Keep the pressure on the City and Board of Education. We elect members of our community to govern on our behalf. It is our civic responsibility to communicate our concerns & express our priorities. Please help send...Continue reading
PS #5 PTA School Funding Advocacy Action: Keep the pressure on the BOE & City Leadership: No Pink Slips!
Jersey City is not properly funding its public schools. Hundreds of JCPS employees have received layoff notices aka "pink slips" due to systemic underfunding. The time to act is NOW. How you can help. Contact your Board of Education & City representatives. We elect members of our community to govern on our behalf. It is...Continue reading
JC BOE Used Incorrect Tax Base Value in Its 2019/20 Budget: Explaining the Tax Math
The Jersey City Board of Education used an incorrect tax base value in its budget presentation. It then based its estimated per-homeowner school tax increase estimates on that error. This NJ.com report gives the initial report of the error: “The 2019-20 budget will increase the school tax levy by 10 percent to $136.5 million. The school...Continue reading
Accountability Checkpoint: Parent FAQs for May 13th BOE Meeting to Finalize the Budget
I’ve been getting some questions in advance of the Board of Education meeting tonight, and thought I’d share via a post, so everyone has access. This is all public data, and we can endeavor to understand it in community. If you have a question, please email me at [email protected] When was the BOE given notice...Continue reading
The Jersey City BOE’s “10% Tax Levy Hike” Isn’t Enough & Doesn’t Value Our Kids or JCPS
Jersey City’s Board of Education is emphasizing a “10%” school tax levy increase as if that’s a big jump. Except 10% isn’t a big dollar-for-dollar jump, when you look at the entire picture. In actuality, 10% is way too small, given the fiscal hole we’re in as a district. A simple example can illustrate how...Continue reading
Jersey City: Approximately $40 Million of School Tax is Locked Up in Abatement Contracts
This is part of a series about the 2019/20 proposed municipal and schools budgets in Jersey City. Jersey City’s proposed 2019/20 municipal budget shows that over $120 million in PILOT fees are expected to be collected in in the coming year. What is notable about PILOT fees is that they don’t contribute to the school...Continue reading
Jersey City’s 2019/20 Proposed Budget: Visualized APPROPRIATIONS (Expenses)
Every municipality must pay for services that are then consumed by its residents. These services include: Police force (eg the JCPD) Fire department Road maintenance for city roads (a note on roads...in Jersey City, Ocean Avenue, Eerie Street, and Manhattan Avenue are city roads, thus they are maintained with city funds...however JFK Boulevard is a...Continue reading
Jersey City’s 2019/20 Proposed Budget: Visualized Revenues
Every municipality is funded by a mix of income streams, including: Property taxes (everyone pays property tax...you either pay it directly if you're a property owner, or you pay it to your landlord. Your rent includes the cost of property tax) State Aid Local Revenues - these are user-fee income streams like marriage licenses, pet...Continue reading
2019/20 *Proposed* Advertised Appropriations (JCPS Spending for 2019/20 School Year)
Check out prior visualizations here that I'm sharing as part of the 2019/20 budget cycle. This visualization shows multiple lenses into the proposed 2019/20 "advertised appropriations" within Jersey City's public schools, as reported by the Jersey City Board of Education here. This budget has been prepared by the district administration and a finalized version, after...
How does Jersey City Spend Its Money? A Data Visualization of Budgets from 2015-2018
As we look towards the coming weeks and months, two local governing bodies are undergoing a public budgeting process: The Board of Education will be determining the 2019/20 schools budget. The city of Jersey City will be determining the 2019 municipal budget. A key question is: how can taxpayers engage? How can we peel back...
PS #5 PTA School Funding Advocacy Action!
Jersey City is not properly funding its public schools. Our public schools are $100+ million underfunded and it's about to grow much worse. The time to act is NOW. How you can help. Contact your city representatives. We elect members of our community to govern on our behalf. It is our civic responsibility to communicate...Continue reading
2018/19 Advertised Appropriations (What JCPS Spends Money On)
This "tree map" shows the 2018/19 appropriations (i.e. expenses) for Jersey City Public Schools. I downloaded the data from the NJ Department of Education website, created a subset of "Appropriations" showing total spending, and then removed subtotals and totals so that only detailed lined items are visualized. Jersey City will lose $27 million in state...Continue reading
Jersey City’s 2017 School Based Budgets: Learn what’s being funded in your school
This bubble chart shows 2017 actual spending within Jersey City's public schools, as reported by the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report ("CAFR"); 2017 is the most recent year available for this report. The CAFR is an annual report detailing both qualitative and quantitative information about the district. It is prepared by the district, approved by...
Jersey City Facing $27 Million State Aid Cut for 2019/20 School Year
Governor Murphy released his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 budget for NJ and this week, and it included a re-allocation of state education aid. The impact to Jersey City was both expected and gut-wrenchingly sobering: a $27 million cut in “Adjustment Aid”, a type of excess state aid that Jersey City has been receiving for...
NJ School Funding Basics: “Adequacy” Budget, School Tax Levy, & the Impact of Inflation (A Case Study of Jersey City)
This article is about Jersey City’s public schools funding crisis. If you’re unfamiliar with this issue, you can read more about it here. I’ve been attempting to de-puzzle some of the tax math that is vexing Jersey City with respect to its public school funding crisis, and have found three factors that deserve public scrutiny...Continue reading
NJ Public Schools – Diversity Dashboard Using Income, Race, & ESL Data
I was prompted by this tweet by Alpha Sigma Nu to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan 21, 2019). When I saw the tweet, the first thought that popped into my head was “better understand and share about school diversity.” There is a dataset I’ve been dabbling with for quite some time now; it’s the...Continue reading
NJ School Funding Basics: NJ Department of Education Data & Reports
This is a quick initial post to point taxpayers to an excellent resource for rich, official public data about our public schools here in NJ. The NJ Department of Education (NJ DOE) has, for at least the past 10 years, published a host of different datasets on its “DOE Data & Reports” page. The data...Continue reading
JCPS Funding Crisis: An Overview
Jersey City Public Schools Funding Crisis Based on the state funding formula, Jersey City Public Schools are currently $100 million under-funded. Jersey City students, parents, teachers, and staff experience this under-funding everyday. This is a structural deficit and a threat to our school system, our city, and our community. Get the facts, connect in community,...Continue reading
“Jersey City Public Schools are *Structurally* Underfunded”…What does this mean?
This started out as a Facebook post on my CivicParent Facebook page. I’ve turned it into a quick post, for posterity & to help explain some of the financial mechanics of Jersey City’s under-funding crisis. “Jersey City’s public schools under-funding is a structural problem” – what does this mean, exactly? Here’s one way to look...Continue reading
Jersey City & NJ: Student Group Data from NJ School Performance Reports (A Focus on ELL, At-Risk, and Special Education Students)
The NJ Department of Education publishes annual data relating to certain “student groups”, per school. The table below focuses on three groups that, per state funding law, are entitled to more funding based on the level of need. These groups are: At-risk students, defined as lower income students who qualify for free or reduced lunch...Continue reading
NJ Property Tax Dashboard | #OpenData #DataViz
This is a property tax dashboard for NJ residents who may be interested in learning about the property tax profile of their municipality, including: 1) Latest available (Tax Year 2017) property tax metrics available from NJ’s Property Tax portal. 2) Tax base growth chart from 1988 to 2017 – how has your town’s tax base...
NJ Special Education Statistics | #DataViz #OpenData
In this post I’m sharing statewide special education data, with ability to drill into Jersey City special education data specifically, for both Jersey City Public Schools (the public school system) and charter schools attended by Jersey City students. I am sharing the statewide data because it’s informing to see the varying degrees of special education...Continue reading
Jersey City’s Taxpayer Funded Schools: Enrollment Overview with Focus on Income Diversity
The charts below show enrollment data for Jersey City Public Schools. The Jersey City Public Schools system is the 39-school district under the purview of the Jersey City Board of Education (BOE) and is funded through taxpayer dollars. Public charter schools also receive taxpayer dollars, but they are operated and overseen independently of the JC...Continue reading
Jersey City Public Schools – A Public Good Requiring Public Funding
Jersey City Public Schools is the city’s largest public good, funded through a combination of state, local, and to a lesser degree, federal tax dollars. In 2018/19 the public schools budget was over $600 million; this is larger than the city’s entire budget. The schools are a public good because they educate the vast majority...Continue reading
Jersey City: Who in City Council & the NJ State Legislature Represents Your School?
To help parents and taxpayers understand (a) what schools are in their neighborhood and/or (b) which elected representatives are tied to which schools, I’ve mapped all 40 Jersey City Public Schools (along with accompanying basic profile information, as listed on the JCPS Website) against 2 map layers: Jersey City Ward (each ward is represented by a...Continue reading
Jersey City Funding Crisis: Banked Cap, Explained
Jersey City Public Schools: CivicParent Funding FAQs I have been trying to understand how Jersey City Public Schools are funded and am sharing questions I’ve endeavored to answer. As I learn, I’m sharing with the community in the hopes others will also learn and advocate. Where applicable I’ve provided citations and resources so that anyone...Continue reading
JCPS Funding: How JCPS Spends Its Money…A High Level Primer
I detailed in my last post how the JCPS budget is funded by a mix of state, local, and federal tax dollars. But how is that money then spent? That is the main focus of this post. Governor Christie approved a budget this week that included $8.5 million in state aid cuts to Jersey City Public Schools...Continue reading
JCPS Funding: Why Possible State Aid Cuts = “Major Hardship”
I will be writing about this issue as it unfolds, it’s a big topic that taxpayers should understand. This is a quick primer on why the Sweeney-Prieto proposal to cut $8.5 million in state aid from Jersey City Public Schools would, to use Superintendent Dr. Lyles term, cause a “major hardship” for the district....Continue reading
Op-Ed Follow-Up: Get the Facts & Figures About Abatements & Public School Funding in Jersey City
I teamed up with Ellen Simon to co-author an op-ed in The Jersey Journal about how Jersey City’s PILOT policy harms our public schools. The article is dense with facts, figures, and assertions. To ensure our assertions are as accessible as possible to the public, I’ve created a landing page to help readers sort through the...Continue reading
Jersey Journal Op-Ed Highlights PILOT vs. Public Schools Tension in Jersey City
I teamed up with Ellen Simon, a friend, fellow public school parent, and former board trustee of the Jersey City BOE, to co-author an op-ed in the Jersey Journal. The topic: how Jersey City’s PILOT policy “robs” funding from our public schools. The term “rob” is not ours…to find out who did coin the term, in context...Continue reading
Mapping Jersey City’s Abatements by Project Type and Ward
If you are new to the topic of abatements, I recommend my tax abatement series here. I’ve updated my 2015 long-term abatement map to include 2016 data. The map is provided below, along with reports showing underlying data grouped by project type (affordable housing vs. market) and by ward. Source data was derived from the city’s user friendly...Continue reading
Jersey City PILOTs Rob Funding from the School System
A strong public school system is essential bedrock to a healthy community. Yet in Jersey City, our bedrock is threatened by a fiscal policy that is over-reliant on PILOTs. Here’s the crux of the problem: PILOTs help grow the city, which in turn increases demand for public schools. But PILOTed residents don’t pay school tax, leaving taxpayers to bear the burden of...Continue reading
Mapping Abatements in Jersey City
As I explained in my last post, transparency around abatements is finally, slowly, increasing. As data is unlocked, taxpayers can glean greater insight into how their tax dollars are spent. To help with this effort, I’ve mapped the 146 abatements from Jersey City’s 2015 “user friendly budget” into an easy-to-use Google map. Let’s Get Civic with...Continue reading
Tax Abatements 601: Brighter Sunshine Mandated for NJ Abatements
Tax abatement reporting in Jersey City is finally getting more transparent. Two distinct authoritative bodies have mandated changes that require Jersey City (and other cities) to get onboard the transparency train. This news should come as a relief to taxpayers since abatements now constitute over 20% of Jersey City’s annual revenue yet have been sharply criticized by the NJ Comptroller as being too opaque and...Continue reading